This article was written by expat contributor Jennifer Dawson.
Malaysia isn’t a big wine-drinking country – only 2% of the population regularly enjoy a glass. There are two reasons for this, one being that there aren’t a large number of vineyards in Malaysia. Secondly, the excise duties on alcohol are the second highest in the world, behind Norway. If you are an expat living in Malaysia and want to find some genuinely delicious wine to pair with a meal, then instead of going to the grocery store, head nearer to the source, where you will have more choice. You can then stock up on a few bottles to enjoy with dinner.
Go Straight to the Vineyard
If you would like to be able to buy some outstanding wine, but at reasonable prices, then your best bet is to go directly to the vineyard, rather than purchasing from a commercial retailer. You will have the privilege of being able to see how the grapes are grown, and many vineyard operators also offer tours, so you can see the bottling process and understand more about the production practices. Try Beris Lake Vineyard, or Salleh Aguilla’s Little England vineyard in Marang, where he is growing 10 different grape varieties to suit every palette.
Visit a Wine Fair
A wine fair is a great way to get in touch with local wine producers and importers. You can try exciting new blends and different varieties of grapes as well as having professional advice on wine pairing. The Malaysia International Food And Beverage Fair takes place in Kuala Lumpur from 22-24th July 2020 and is one of the biggest events of the year. Not only can you meet dozens of different producers from all over the world, there are also masterclasses that can help you decide the best type of wines to pair with the seasonal food on offer in the region. The Food and Beverage Fair attracts 20,000 visitors each year and also includes specialist meals with wine pairing. You will get the chance to try Malaysian producers signature wines, paired with delicious food cooked by some highly regarded professional chefs.
Do Some Wine Tasting
One of the best ways to find quality wine in Malaysia is to attend an organised wine tasting session. This is an opportunity to learn more about the flavor profiles and subtle undertones that you can find with different grape varieties. Try the regular Wine Showcase at the Royal Selangor Polo Club in Kuala Lumpur, or you could even combine wine tasting with art at a Tipsy Painting session at Petaling Jaya – it is a great way to meet new expat friends. You could also join an online wine tasting group, like Wine Tasting Malaysia that has over 2,000 members, who regularly try wines from around the world.
Wine may not be as popular as teh tarik in Malaysia, but there is still a wide variety of local and imported wines to try. By attending festivals and wine tastings you can experience the best that Malaysia has to offer.